RECENTLY I've had to come to terms with all the family experiences and personal grief involved in the passing of a much-loved parent. In my sense of loss I felt at first more like a child in need than an adult. The love of family members was an immense help in getting through the demands of those early weeks. But even with that closeness, nothing really comforted me until prayer finally brought a conviction -- spiritual and unshakable -- that my mother's life was undiminished. It always had been, and would be, something much more than human history. Her life actually was in God, divine Life. Eventually, as sorrow became less real to me than these deep spiritual truths, the grief began to yield.
As a Christian Scientist I've spent many years following Bible teachings and trying to think in terms of what God is and therefore what the nature of man as His offspring must be. I've been helped by praying to see the immediacy and completeness of God as divine Life and divine Love. Study, prayer, and living have persuaded me that the truth of Paul's words is irrefutable: ``In him [God] we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.''1
But a testing -- sometimes it seems more like a crisis -- of faith and trust in God as our Life can be severe when somebody we love passes on. What practical good then is our relationship to God? How immediate is His love? At such times the simplest questions of children often go directly to the heart: Is Grandma cared for now? Are we safe? What is the reason for anybody dying?
In trying to come to terms with such questions for myself as well as to help other family members, the only sure approach I found was prayer and spiritual reasoning. In the past I'd never felt there was any set method even for helping our own children through the heartache of such separation. Each event, each child and family setting, is unique and requires an individual response. Lots of love and closeness are needed, but prayer and reliance on God's word and on spiritual intuition were what I could depend on.
So it was natural for me to try my best to pray and to listen for inspiration. Sometimes that prayer took the form of spiritual reasoning. But this was a deeper reasoning of the heart, not something cold or abstract. For instance, if we live in God once, we must live in Him forever, because God, Life, is unchanging. If He loved us as His child once, He would keep us close to Him always, because God, as divine Love, is eternal.
More specifically, if my mother lived in and with God, Life and Love, when we were together, would that not still be true of her, and of us, now? Once the spiritual offspring of God, always the spiritual offspring of God.
I was reminded of one of my mother's favorite passages in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,2 and its clarity seemed especially promising. ``This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death.''3
As I began to think in terms of comforting others -- knowing the motive had to be authentic and from my own conviction -- the void and fear of loss began to seem less intense. I found a different kind of courage for contradicting the sadness and tears and mental images of death. Words of conviction came easily -- that life always has been, will be, something quite different from a human, material profile. As long as there is love, we have evidence of divine Life. As long as we live with integrity, there is tangible proof of divine Love.
God, our Father-Mother, knows more than we do, enough to hold the stars in their courses and to create man in His likeness. Enough to help us comfort each other through spiritual understanding.
1Acts 17:28, 29. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Science and Health, p. 304.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The gift of God is eternal life throughJesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23